Donna Bryant said she’s always loved her work with children at First Baptist Church. That enjoyment has heightened in the past few weeks.

Donna took over as children’s ministry director in 2013. Recently, the church started a new program, the AWANA (Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed) Club. The emphasis for the Bible-based program for children, from the age of 3 to the fifth grade, is on Bible memorization.

About 60 children, mostly unchurched, are enrolled.

“That I’m able to teach children about God, our Lord and Savior, and disciple children so that they can go out and disciple their family and friends is wonderful,” she said. “We anticipate that the number of children we have now will grow to a larger number. That’s great for our community.”

A free meal is served to the children at 5:30 each Wednesday. Then the club meets from 6-7:30 p.m.

“It’s like a mini Vacation Bible School each week,” Donna said. “That’s the best way I can describe it. It brings me so much joy knowing that I’m spreading the gospel to little souls and helping start them in their spiritual life and introduce them to Jesus.”

Donna has lived in Piedmont all of her life. She graduated from Piedmont High School and attended Gadsden State Community College, where she studied early childhood development. She worked at Capstone Christian Academy five years before going to First Baptist.

Her husband, Brian, works for Humana Insurance.

Her older daughter, Darby, 20, is a junior at Jacksonville State University, where she is studying accounting. She works for the athletic department there. Darby recently returned from a mission trip to Nicaragua and will spend thanksgiving week on another mission trip to El Salvador.

Her younger daughter, Kerstin, 17, is a junior at Spring Garden. She is a member of the 1A state championship basketball team this year. She plays travel softball for the Birmingham Vipers and is an active member of First Baptist Church’s “Regroup” youth.

Donna likes crafts, reading and spending time with her family. Her favorite book is the Bible. She reads it every day. Her parents are Jo and Jim Keenum of Rainbow City and the late Donnie Winkles. Donna has fond memories of watching her father race cars.

“My dad drag raced, so every weekend we were at a drag strip,” she said.

Her grandparents are the late M. L. and Katherine Livingston of Piedmont and James and Louise Winkles of Centre. M. L. taught her to cook

“He was a good cook,” Donna said. “He taught me how to cook and can vegetables from the garden and fruit. That’s also one of my favorite childhood memories.

Donna said although she likes to cook, she often has difficulty finding time to do so.

“Working late on Wednesday nights I’m very blessed to have a husband who always has a warm dinner waiting for me when I get home,” she said.

She shares some of her tailgating recipes, Crunchy Taco Cups, which yields about 12 cups. She loves Busy Moms Crockpot Dinner for busy nights when there are ballgames. She often cooks Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Chili on cool fall nights. Her daughters’ favorite dessert is Blueberry Cheese Rolls.

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